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Image / Living / Culture

The internet has a lot to say about Chrissy Teigen’s comments on “cancel club”


by Sarah Finnan
15th Jul 2021

Chrissy Teigen / Instagram

Chrissy Teigen has divided the internet once again with her take on what being part of “cancel club” is really like.

The internet can be a very scary place to be sometimes. Obviously, it largely depends on how and what you use it for, but turning a blind eye to the nasty call-out culture that our generation has come to associate with the online sphere is becoming more and more difficult.

Before we go any further, I think it’s necessary to first understand what exactly cancel culture is.

While now the phrase carries definite negative connotations, it wasn’t always that way. In fact, the movement (if you can really call it that) initially started out with the best of intentions – to hold people responsible for the things that they say and do. A way for communities and minority groups to show others that everyone’s words and actions have consequences, demanding public accountability was often the only way that anyone would take notice of their plight. 

It was an important social justice tool and, as Vox put it, it was “a way of combatting through collective action, some of the huge power imbalances that often exist between public figures with far-reaching platforms and audiences, and the people and communities their words and actions may harm”. 

In other words, it began as a way for those that were wronged to be vindicated. Somewhere along the way, that message got a little lost in translation though and as many have pointed out, it now seems to facilitate a sort of social media mob mentality. 

Which brings us to Chrissy Teigen; cancel culture’s latest victim. 

A hugely outspoken character, people tend to have very strong feelings about Teigen one way or another, but while those were usually contained to “she’s so funny” or “oh, she’s so annoying”, things escalated after some of her old Tweets resurfaced. Coming under fire for many of the horrific things she said to Courtney Stodden (who is nonbinary), the former model was accused of bullying the then 16-year-old, even telling them “I can’t wait for you to die” on one occasion. 

Since publicly apologising for her behaviour, Teigen issued a lengthy statement last month in response to the scandal. Admitting to being “a troll” and using her platform to “gain attention and show off”, her decision to speak out was not to paint herself a victim but to provide people with context, she said. “I won’t ask for your forgiveness, only your patience, and tolerance. I ask that you allow me, as I promise to allow you, to own past mistakes and be given the opportunity to seek self-improvement and change,” she wrote. 

That was back on June 14. Notably less active on social media, Teigen has shared small snippets of her life in the weeks that followed but everything was very… normal, for lack of a better word. Acknowledging that it feels weird to pretend that nothing has happened online while offline she feels like “utter sh*t”, the bestselling cookbook author got real with followers about where she’s at. 

“I feel lost and need to find my place again, I need to snap out of this, I desperately wanna communicate with you guys instead of pretending everything is okay. I’m not used to any other way,” she wrote. Going on to address the whole cancel culture debacle, Teigen continued by saying, “Cancel club is a fascinating thing and I have learned a whollllle lot. Only a few understand it and it’s impossible to know til you’re in it. And it’s hard to talk about it in that sense because obviously you sound whiney when you’ve clearly done something wrong. It just sucks. There is no winning.”

On paper, Teigen has done everything right in the wake of the controversy. She’s apologised both publicly and privately, she’s taken time offline to be alone with her thoughts, she’s gone to therapy… she’s faced the facts head-on, as she should. But as she and many, many others have already pointed out, this is very much a product of her own making. Her situation is self-inflicted so it’s kind of hard to have sympathy for her. 

Twitter and the internet at large certainly don’t. 

That being said, holding her accountable for her actions is one thing, using it as a reason to fuel a social media pile-on is quite another. Inundating the very space that she’s on trial for corrupting with vitriol with only further vitriol feels hypocritical.

Teigen absolutely deserves to be chastised for her comments, but jumping at the chance to tear a person down simply for being human and making mistakes is not the way to go about it. 

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